Battle of the online buy and sells

  • News
  • August 19, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Battle of the online buy and sells

Since it arrived on the scene in 1999, Trade Me has been popular with Kiwis.

It was named New Zealand’s fifth favourite website, behind YouTube, Facebook and Google’s sites.

Trade Me dominates the online buy and sell market here, but a few other websites are edging in trying to get a slice of its pie.

We looked at the other options vying for consumers’ clicks.


The latest to join the fray, OnOffer differentiates itself from Trade Me by letting swap one item for another to purchase a listing.

There are also no auctions to get the heart rate up.

Instead, the nearest offer wins.

Founder Jason Gibb came up with the idea in 2006 and has just bought it to fruition.

He says auctions are suited to Americans, whereas Kiwis like hunting out a bargain and haggling for a deal.

“We grew up with the concept of ‘ONO - or nearest offer’ and that’s the concept behind this site,” Gibb says.

Users can also post items on the site that they want to give away for free.

“One man’s junk is another’s treasure and this function will save many trips to the tip,” Gibb says.


Ourthings is an online marketplace that’s trying to get the idea of a sharing economy off the ground in New Zealand.

CEO Jamie Twigg says they want to do for rental what Trade Me did for selling.

 The sharing economy has taken off overseas, he says, as people no longer can rely on mass consumerism and the “buy and toss” cycle.

“With everything happening in Greece and China people are going to start looking around their houses and garages and realise they have a huge amount of 'things' that they don't want to sell but could still profit from,” Twigg says.

Twigg says the site launched a couple of months ago and has since had a real momentum of people signing up the site.

“The trick with all these things is that it takes some time for there to be a good proliferation of items in areas - you need the supply and the demand for there to be a conversion,” Twigg says.

He says at the moment, it’s a matter of building up users to match the supply in a location with the demand in a location.

The wedding scene has seen a huge amount of listings, he says, as has party equipment.
“The spread of the sharing economy seems to track with the big companies as they expand,” he says.

“Uber and Airbnb are the two companies spearheading the sharing economy globally and they seem to be slowly spreading out from first Auckland, and then Wellington.

“They are bringing the sharing economy and marketplace concept to the mainstream, and as they become more accepted, so too does the sharing concept as a whole.”

Post a Note

Post a Note launched in March this year to take over Gumtree’s market share, after the latter announced it was leaving the New Zealand online market.

Like Gumtree, Post a Note distinguishes itself from Trade Me by being a free service for buyers and sellers. It’s also not an auction site.

Allied Press Ltd, an Otago-owned media company, became the majority shareholder of the company in January.

Board member and Allied Press commercial manager Matthew Holdridge says Trade Me is great at what it does and the company never intended to encroach on its market share.

Nathan Weathington says getting across what the website does is one of the biggest hurdles.

“Our main challenge is explaining to people what we actually do,” Weathington says.

“With so many failed attempts to compete with Trade Me in the media, people wrongfully assume they know how Post a Note works. But with more and more people coming to the site, or using similar free classified sites overseas, this seems to be fading.”

Weathington says in the past three months, there’s been serious progress made with the East Coast of the South Island in places like Christchurch, Timaru and Oamaru.

The company is further expanding to the North Island and is taking on Auckland first.

He says business has increased 500 percent since Allied Press came on board.


A spokesperson confirmed to The Register earlier this year that the social media giant is trialling a new feature to buy and sell items in the user’s city.

"We are testing a new way on Facebook for more people to easily discover, buy, and sell items to other people. Organic person-to-person commerce is already happening on the platform, and we are continuously exploring ways to make this experience more engaging and accessible to a broader Facebook audience,” the spokesperson said.

"It is currently only available in Auckland. It is a very early test, and we do not have a timetable on when we will expand it more broadly." 

Cash Converters

Cash Converters is an Australian franchise that first entered New Zealand in 1993.

Since then, it has rebranded and is ready to take on New Zealand’s booming second hand goods market.

A spokesperson for the company says Trade Me has popularised buying and selling used goods, but this doesn’t match Cash Converters’ immediacy.

“A customer can come into Cash Converters to sell or buy without all the listing, re-listing, picking up and posting fuss,” the spokesperson says.

“Customers can examine the goods before buying them, and compare with similar items.”

Even though it could be considered its direct competitor, Cash Converters has partnered with Trade Me so customers can purchase items from specific Cash Converter branches off Trade Me’s site.

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